Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 11, Dec. 21

Usually I try to have a loose plan of what I'll make during the CSB session, so I can have the freedom to change my mind if inspiration should strike. From the onset, however, I knew I had to make Christmas cookies for the pickup before December 25th! Cookies are classic, and just about every family has favorite recipes and memories from childhood of rolling out or swiping a bite of cookie dough.

We always made the classics. I'm sure my mother made other varieties too, but what I remember the most are sugar cookies (and lots of frosting and sprinkles), spritz, and gingerbread men. My younger sister introduced me to neapolitan cookies about two years ago, made from a recipe her new mother-in-law had given her, and shipped all the way from New York to my doorstep. They were moist, cakey, and...wonderful. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Assorted Christmas Cookies:

~Gingerbread Men
~Mocha-Orange Pinwheels
~Chocolate-Peppermint Pinwheels
~Sugar Cookie Cutouts (small have royal icing, large have whiskey buttercream frosting)
~Toasted Hazelnut Horns
~Nutmeg Cookie Pretzels
~Maple Sugar Shortbread Wedges
~Coconut Pyramids (macaroons)
~Neapolitan Cookies
~Meringue Santa Hats
~Granola Jumbles
~Lemon Wreaths
Should you belong to a small family, or find that you'd like to save some of these cookies for later, unfrosted varieties will freeze well. The Granola Jumbles should be refrigerated if they're not eaten right away (not for safety, just because they'll get soft and come apart easily).

*I should make a note on the colors and sprinkles I used. I am always conscious of artificial...anything, and do believe it compromises the end result in most cases. I strongly believe in natural flavorings and colors whenever possible, especially for health reasons. Christmastime, however, I bend the rule a bit. I have experimented with numerous brands of natural colors, and have found that only yellow and pink are consistent quality-wise (but they're more Easter-y than Christmas-y). The blue/purple is more a blue-gray, and the green I was able to locate is more of a non appetizing pea soup color. They are expensive, recipes take much more color than artificial varieties, and the color changes or fades even more when baked! So, I let the issue slide a bit, falling back on moderation. Rest assured that I always read labels, and, in the case of sprinkles especially, try to seek out brands that don't use hydrogenated oils and such. If you're still concerned about eating anything with artificial colors, please know that the white sprinkles and any pastel colors are all-natural!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Ideas and Flavors!

More examples of some of my yummy treats:

Baby shower treats!  Two tiered strawberry cake,
strawberry poppyseed cupcakes, meringue tarts with lime curd,
cherry and blueberry mini melts.

Chocolate Cupcake with American Buttercream and Marshmallow Fondant flower with edible sparkly luster dust.

Turkey placemarker sugar cookies.

8" 4 layer Chocolate Saffron Cake with Candied Orange Peel and Shaved Dark Chocolate.

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie.

9" Tiramisu-Inspired 3 layer cake (Yellow Cake with Kahlua Syrup, Mascarpone Whipped Filling, Cappuccino French Buttercream, Dark Chocolate Ganache).

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes with American Buttercream and handmade Marshmallow Fondant decorations.

4 layer 9" Tender White Cake filled with Raspberry Creme Fraiche Mousse, and iced with French Buttercream. Handmade Marshmallow Fondant decorations with edible sparkly luster dust.

Meringue tarts with fresh lemon
curd and organic berries.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 8, Nov. 30

Cupcakes are a delight in so many ways. I was able to make several varieties for CSB members to sample this week! I am constantly inspired to create new cake flavors, so each box will contain six different varieties to try! It's kind of like receiving a box of truffles...only better because it's CAKE!

Included in each cake box is one cupcake of each flavor, totaling six delicious gems:

~Mexican Hot Chocolate (spiced chocolate cake, spiced whipped ganache, homemade mini marshmallows)

~White Chocolate Blueberry (white chocolate cake, blueberry filling, white chocolate buttercream, subtle hint of ginger)*

~Lemon Drop (lemon cake, fresh lemon buttercream, homemade candied organic lemon peel)
~Plain Jane (vanilla cake, vanilla bean French buttercream, naturally colored sprinkles)

~Chocolate-Orange (chocolate cake, fresh orange buttercream, chocolate shavings)

~Gourmet Hostess Delight (vanilla cake, French buttercream filling, smooth mocha ganache)

If you wish to save some cupcakes for later, they will freeze well, although the frosting may get squished upon defrosting. Place them in the freezer until frozen solid. Wrap well in plastic wrap (individually) and then place in a zip top baggie and freeze up to one month. To defrost, place one, still wrapped, in a lunch box or on the counter about one hour. Cupcakes are best eaten on the day they're made, but will last, stored in their bakery box, up to three days at room temperature.

*A note on the blueberries used for the White Chocolate Blueberry cupcake.... I canned pie filling last summer from fresh Oregon berries and used that as a filling. I REALLY wanted to garnish each cupcake top with a fresh blueberry, but I couldn't bring myself to buy the outrageously expensive organic berries imported from Chile (that are distributed out of Florida and then flown to the west coast to be sent to local grocery stores). So I had to make due with dried blueberries.
Chocolate-Orange Cupcake
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake
Blueberry White Choclate Cupcake
& Hostess Delight Cupcake
Lemon Drop Cupcake
& Plain Jane Cupcake

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Strawberry Poppyseed Cupcakes
(poppyseed cake, strawberry filling,
whipped cream icing, local berry.
Special orders for cakes are super popular, so this post should help address any questions you may have.  I can do many different designs, so please don't be limited by the few examples that are featured on this site! This is just a springboard for our imaginations to dream up delicious flavor combinations and fun designs. The flavors and texture of my cakes and icings are what sets mine apart from anyone else's. As with my other baked goods, I use only the highest quality ingredients. If you're considering ordering a cake, cupcakes, or mini cupcakes, please give me a call so we can discuss what would be perfect for your event. (541-273-1036) More cake examples may be found here, here, and throughout the site.  Please click on the Custom Cakes and Cupcakes tab at the top of the page for pricing and flavor ideas.

Assorted holiday cupcakes.

Custom beach-themed
fondant-covered 2 layer cake
with handmade gumpaste decors.

6-inch orange cake,
raspberry mousse filling,
French buttercream,
marshmallow fondant,
handmade gum paste poinsettia.

Three tiered wedding cake.  Assorted strawberry-themed layers,
French buttercream icing,
handmade marshmallow fondant ribbon,
organic berries from Fresh Green Organics (local),
berry toppers from Shari's Berries online.

White chocolate cake,
chocolate hazelnut filling,
white chocolate French buttercream,
marshmallow fondant holiday decors.
Chocolate cake,
peanut butter-chocolate ice cream filling,
whipped ganache,
all-natural PB cups.
Chocolate cupcake,
salted bourbon caramel buttercream,
chocolate marshmallow fondant decors.

Chocolate cake,
peppermint ice cream filling,
vanilla French buttercream,
crushed peppermint candy cane.
Vanilla cupcakes,
vanilla creme filling,
mocha ganache.
Chocolate cake,
chocolate-hazelnut filling,
vanilla French buttercream,
toasted hazelnuts.

Chocolate cake, ganache, French buttercream, more ganache, organic berry.

Left: Lemon cake,
lemon mousse,
lemon French buttercream,
all-natural pink food coloring.
Right: German Chocolate Cake.
White cake,
whipped creme fraiche,
fresh sliced organic strawberries,
vanilla French buttercream,
handmade black fondant decors.
6-inch, 4 layer moist lemon cake,
homemade organic lemon curd filling, lemon French buttercream (with just a hint of ginger), handmade candied lemon slices and candied ginger for decoration.

 Custom 1/4 sheet cake.
Ladybug themed cupcakes (vanilla bean, gluten-free).
Chocolate cupcake,
fresh organic raspberry cream
cheese icing,
edible silver dragees.

Chocolate cake,
vanilla French buttercream,
 crushed all natural
chocolate sandwich cookies.

Custom 1/4 sheet cake. 
Chloe asked for red, blue, and lots of M&Ms!
Chocolate cake, vanilla creme and m&m filling,
chocolate American buttercream.

A small 2 layer, 6-inch cake to celebrate
a little boy's Tae Kwon Do yellow belt achievement!
For a lucky 4 year old's birthday party!  She requested Hello Kitty, a rainbow, pink and purple, and chocolate and bananas.  Both cakes were chocolate, filled with whipped creme fraiche, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of caramel, and iced with vanilla French buttercream.  All decors are handmade and edible!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 6, Nov. 9

I have always found it somewhat entertaining to look through cookbooks, especially when I'm visiting friends or family. Never having time to go to bookstores and peruse the selection, it's nice to have a moment to sit down and read some of the more quality ones out there, versions that people have picked up as gifts or purchased in their quest to become better bakers or home chefs. My sister has some fabulous baking books, from which she has created some wonderful treats for us when we've had the opportunity to stay a few days. On our last trip north, however, she was tied up with work and was unable to spend the time making desserts.

One evening of our visit we were informed that our cousins would be dropping by sometime later. Because my sister was working and my family was camped out in her new house, I thought it would be nice to have something sweet to offer our guests. As my husband tidied up the living room, I pulled down a cookie book I hadn't seen before and found a recipe for a soft chocolate sandwich variety with a peanut butter filling that looked easy enough. They were fabulous, disappearing quickly (I actually had to kind of hide them until our guests arrived), and I jotted down the recipe to share with CSB members.

By using dark, natural cocoa powder in the cookie and different filling flavors, I came up with a few tasty variations on the originals. I also made up a batch of seasonally delightful pumpkin cookies, filling them with a ginger buttercream. These cookies are best served at room temperature (no need to refrigerate them). If you'd like to freeze some to enjoy later on, wrap each one in plastic wrap and store the wrapped cookies in a zip-top baggie in the freezer. Toss them in a lunchbox in the morning and they'll be defrosted and ready to eat by lunchtime!

Flavor Combinations:

~Chocolate-Peanut Butter
~Chocolate-Vanilla Bean
~Spiced Pumpkin-Ginger

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 5, Nov. 2

Cakes are wonderful. There is always an air of celebration surrounding cakes, and many gatherings often seem to fall short if one isn't present. While other desserts are certainly common place in my family too, birthdays, baby showers, and other special occasions always feature at least one cake, and because of the lack of good bakeries (sorry, but store-bought just doesn't cut it) and my desire to create something delicious and memorable, the task often falls on me to bring one that's perfectly suited for the guest of honor. By baking for so many family members throughout the last ten years or so I've had the opportunity to develop some awesome cake and icing flavors.

Many people cut corners when they make "homemade" cakes. Some use mixes from a box, cans of frosting, pre-made rock hard decorations, and/or cheap ingredients like Crisco. While there are always better ingredients to be found, I feel confident that I have located ones that enhance my creations to make them the best they can be. I use unbleached cake flour, which gives a delicate crumb while being formulated to rise high without being chemically bleached. I use potent spices and rich cocoa powder from Penzey's, high quality chocolate, evaporated cane juice, farm fresh eggs, and whole milk and butter for a moist, rich crumb. The result? My cakes may cost more than others, but they're divine.

This week members are receiving a sample of one of my layer cake creations. Each share will pick up a six inch, two layer Chocolate Cake, slathered with Saffron-infused French Buttercream. While most American frostings consist of shortening and/or butter, and powdered sugar, my version is less sweet, smooth, and delicately scented with saffron. While cake crumbs are undesirable and slightly tacky when visible in cake icing, do note that this particular buttercream has specks of orange in it (from real, high quality saffron), and is also the reason why the color is a pastel yellow. The chocolate cake has been infused with a hint of Grand Marnier (an orange liqeuer). I finished them off with a simple decoration of homemade candied orange peel and chocolate flower cut-outs.

With the small size of these cakes, I doubt anyone will have leftovers or the desire to freeze slices. In fact, cakes are best kept in their cake boxes until eaten, within three days. French Buttercream freezes wonderfully well, however, so if you find that you'd like to set some aside for later, freeze the cake, unwrapped, until solid. Once frozen, double-wrap it in plastic and store for up to one month in the freezer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gluten-Free, Sensitivities, and Allergies

Gluten-Free assorted cupcakes! 
Raspberry-Orange Swirl,
Chocolate-Dipped Orange,
Vanilla Bean,
Raspberry-White Chocolate
Many people have asked me about gluten-free baking. While my usual fare isn't usually allergy friendly, I make a vast variety of items. It's hard to say that I do or don't make things that might be acceptable for someone's special diet. It varies from person to person, treat to treat.

Starting this October, I will offer a Gluten-Free CSB share!  The pick-up will be once per month, the first Saturday of October, November, and December.  Please contact me for more information, and to reserve your spot.

Additionally, if you're trying to reduce sugar or follow a gluten-free diet (or dairy-free, etc), we can definitely discuss the dessert that would be perfect for you, available as a special order. I can ensure it's made to your specifications and if you have a sensitivity/allergy to, say, wheat, I can make sure no "regular" cookie crumbs fall onto your dessert, possibly resulting in a reaction.

Gluten-free flour can be substituted for regular flour in many baked items. Most of my cake flavors can be made Gluten-Free; please ask for examples. GF oats can be used instead of my regular ones for special order granola (bulk orders only, please). Flavored popcorn, for example, is naturally gluten-free, and can be free of many other allergens as well (some varieties are vegan!).  I make a killer flourless chocolate "cake" that many clients request again and again...most of whom don't even care that's it's gluten-free!

Please allow 48 hours for special orders, and I will try to accommodate your needs as best I can!

Maple-Chile Popcorn,
Buttery Caramel Corn

GF Apple Spice Cupcakes,
Vanilla Buttercream,
natural orange coloring,
chocolate sprinkles

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 3, Oct. 19

People can be pretty particular about their brownies. Some like them chewy, some are fans of the fudgy types, and some like them more cakey. Others might like a thick spread of chocolate icing on top. This week's treat doesn't really fall into those categories, so when I said I was making brownies...well, it's not really that simple!

Each CSB member will receive a whole pan of my special brownies this week, topped off with a decoration of freshly candied organic orange peel. These brownies include Scharffenberger chocolate, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), ancho chile powder, and a hint of orange. They are rich, full-flavored, chocolatey, chewy, and slightly fudgy at the same time.

Cut them into bars the size you prefer, stack them on a plate, take them into the office tomorrow morning to share, or individually wrap the ones you won't eat right away and freeze for quick additions to lunch boxes. These also make an amazing brownie sundae, topped with vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

This is an original recipe, created by me, and you are more than welcome to recreate them by clicking here to learn how.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 2, Oct. 12

Cookies are sinful. They're the perfect size to grab and go, and if I'm not careful I end up eating way more than I should! This week members are receiving 2 dozen cookies in three different flavors. Two varieties feature a classic sugar-butter base, but with more artful flavor combinations. The third is a little healthier treat, with a canola oil base and whole grains. Read on for more details....

~Hazelnut-Coconut Cookies: Toasted hazelnuts, flaked coconut, and a hint of nutmeg make these rich, delicious, and addicting!

~Lime & Pepita Sugar Cookies: Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), the zest and juice from fresh Persian limes, and a roll in sugar crystals make these hard to put down!

~Blueberry & White Chocolate Ginger Cookies: These cookies are full-flavored and delightful as well, but they're a little more healthful (shhh!). Made with pure crystallized ginger, dried blueberries, real white chocolate (not the imitation stuff), rolled oats, canola oil instead of the usual butter, and a touch of wheat germ.

Cookies keep well in an air tight container, at room temperature, for several days. Honestly, I have never frozen cookies (they're just not around long enough), but if you would like to save some for a later date, go ahead! Wrap well in plastic, place in a zip top baggie, and freeze until needed. Be sure to keep flavors separate, or they might end up "sharing" as they sit.

Should you need more serving ideas, other than the classic milk-and-cookie combination, the Hazelnut-Coconut Cookies would pair nicely with toasted coconut or a coffee-flavored ice cream, or even a hot cup of java. The Lime & Pepita Sugar Cookies would be wonderful with lemon or tropical sorbet. The Blueberry & White Chocolate Ginger Cookies are a perfect match for chai tea or alongside vanilla ice cream (sometimes we crumble these and either stir them into milkshakes or sprinkle over the top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Breakfast Goodies

In addition to all sorts of sweets and savory breads (focaccia, whole grain loaves, rolls, etc.), I also make a myriad of breakfast goodies. I happen to bake many different flavors of muffins and scones that are very flavorful, lower in fat than most varieties, whole grain (unless you don't like whole grains, and then I can use white flour), and reduced sugar. Prices are available on request.

Some of the muffin flavors I have in my repertoire are:
~Blueberry-Maple (sweetened entirely with maple syrup, no refined sugar, and are whole grain, with flax)
~Cinnamon Streusel (whole grain, applesauce instead of oil)
~Bran (applesauce instead of oil, made from whole wheat flour and wheat bran...NOT cereal! These are my 6 year old's favorite muffins.)
~Cranberry Orange (whole grain, oats, orange glaze)
~Morning Glory (organic carrots, apple, oats, currants, sweetened with maple syrup, 100% whole grain, no refined sugar!)
~Banana Bran (whole grain, fresh bananas, and a few mini chocolate chips for fun. Toasted, chopped walnuts or hazelnuts are optional)
~Lemon Poppyseed (can be made whole grain if desired, bright organic lemon flavor, fresh lemon glaze)

Some of the scone flavors are:
~Bacon and Asiago Cheese
~Dark Chocolate Cherry
~Blueberry Lemon
~Cinnamon Filled
~Oat and Currant
~Eggnog-Oat with a Whiskey Glaze (seasonal)

I also make homemade granola, available in just about any flavor you can desire. My version uses less oil than most, and is sweetened with a touch of honey (but not too much!). I can add whatever nuts and fruit you like. I use whole grain oats, flake coconut, and sliced almonds for a base, and other fruits and nuts are added in after the granola has baked. $4-5 each, depending on the flavor(s), 11 oz pkg (about 5 half cup servings). Some examples are:
~Apple Cinnamon
~Tart Cherry with Guittard Dark Chocolate Mini Chips
~Tropical (tropical dried fruits and macadamias)
~Trail Mix (which consists of a bunch of different dried fruits and nuts...raisins, currants, walnuts, etc.)

If you'd like to turn my homemade granola into Protein Bars, just give me advance notice and I'll be happy to make a batch up! These are chock full of soy protein powder, tofu, peanut or almond butter (optional), farm fresh eggs, are 100% whole grain, and very lightly sweetened. They make a wonderful snack for children (my son loves to have one when he's wrestling or as an occasional after school snack) and freeze exceptionally well to have as a grab-and-go meal substitute. My husband even likes to eat them straight from the freezer! Added chocolate chips are optional. $1.50 each for a snack size, or $2.75 each for the standard size (comparable to a Power Bar). Or, order a whole batch (8 lg/16 snack size) for $20.

Let The Games Begin!

Jordan Rainwater, of Belweather Farm, hosted a Treat and Greet for me to showcase some goodies this afternoon, and to give people a chance to ask questions and sign up. Below are some of the edibles I made for this event, all of which can be recreated (in larger sizes as well) for special orders!

Mini Fromage Blanc Cheesecakes with a Huckleberry Swirl (lighter than typical versions of cream cheese cheesecakes), and mini Chocolate Cream Pies with a Caramel Drizzle.

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Mocha Ganache.

Meringue Puffs (with naturally colored pink sanding sugar).

Asiago Cheese Twists

Not shown: mini cardamom-lime sweet rolls, my special protein bars, and focaccia with garlic scape pesto.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drool Worthy (Just A Few Examples Of The Kinds Of Things I Make)

Healthy "Cupcakes" for a first birthday party. Whole wheat Apple Spice Muffins (reduced sugar) with Cream Cheese Icing. Adults' cakes were sprinkled with toasted walnuts; the birthday girl had all-natural pink coloring, natural sprinkles, and a fondant initial.

Assorted Breakfast Goodies (Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Fresh Lemon Glaze, Whole Grain Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake, Bacon & Asiago Scones, Cherry & Dark Chocolate Scones).

Yellow Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream and Fondant Sprinkles.

Tiered Birthday Cake, covered in Homemade Marshmallow Fondant (Top: 6-inch white chocolate cake. Bottom: 9-inch chocolate cake. Filled with White Chocolate French Buttercream Icing and Fresh Raspberries.)

Lemon Mousse Tartlets with Fresh Raspberry.

Smores-Inspired Cupcakes.

2 Layer Chocolate 8" cake filled and iced with Saffron Buttercream, covered in Marshmallow Fondant (all natural food coloring).

1/2 sheet chocolate cake filled with banana creme.

Meringue Bunnies.

Tender White Cake, filled with lemon curd and raspberry filling, iced with French Buttercream. Homemade candied lemon peel and fresh raspberries top it off!

Sundae Cupcake: chocolate cake, whipped creme fraiche, chocolate syrup, natural Oregon maraschino cherry.

Cannoli (fried Italian cookie with ricotta cream).

Lemon Burst Ricotta Cookies.

Honey Orange Knots (whole grain).

To Die For Chocolate Cookies (some ingredients include: 3 different chocolates, cayenne, Kahlua, currants).

Classic Lemon Bars.

Strawberry Shortcake, made with Oregon berries and whole grain butter cake.

Maple-Chile Spiced Popcorn and Bacon Dark Chocolate Truffles with Salted Caramel Crunch.

Spiced Apple Oatmeal Bars.

Whole Grain Carrot Cupcakes with Organic Cream Cheese Icing.

Blueberry Custard Pie.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Lemon Icing.

4 Layer 8" Strawberry Chantilly Cream Cake (organic berries from Belweather Farm, white cake, whipped creme fraiche, cream cheese icing).

Blackberry Pie with a crunchy multi grain crust (whole wheat and cornmeal).

Homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallows with chocolate-painted natural graham crackers.